How to Apply...
Could you join our team of ambitious, smart, and diverse humans in the world’s largest doctoral training programme in games?
The application window for studentships starting September 2023 is now open and closes on Thursday, 26 January 2023 @ midday GMT. You can also follow us on Twitter where related events and deadlines will be announced.
Application Info Events
We have scheduled three events for those interested in joining the iGGi Programme, aimed at encouraging the most diverse range of talented applicants.
Taster Day - 21 Nov 2022 (Online)
[EDITED 22/11/2022] On Monday 21 November 2022, iGGi held an online Taster Day which was aimed at those who are interested in applying to the programme. The schedule included the following sessions:
10:30 Intro to iGGi - What is iGGi and is it for me? Intro to iGGi and the iGGi student community: What is games PhD research? What financial and other support is available to iGGi researchers? Where do researchers go after graduating?
11:00 Meet potential supervisors
12:00 Lunch break/ one-on-one time for candidates to talk to potential supervisors
13:00 How to write an application - brief presentation + Q&A
13:45 Meet current iGGi PhD Researchers
15:00 How we work with industry
Some of the Taster Day slides that were presented on the day can be found here:
>> Intro - presented by iGGi Director Paul Cairns
>> Writing an application - presented by iGGi Director Paul Cairns
>> How we work with industry - presented by Diego Pérez-Liébana and Alex Whittaker
Application Workshop - 5 Dec 2022 (Online)
[EDITED 08/12/2022] On Monday 5 December 2022, iGGi held an Application Workshop which focused on providing guidance for writing a high-quality proposal and explaining which other documents and activities are required for a successful application. The schedule included the following items:
10:30 Overview: Intro to iGGi & process for making an application (Peter Cowling)
11:00 Identifying a project and supervisor (Jeremy Gow and James Walker)
11:30 Writing the research proposal (Paul Cairns)
12:30 Other documents to be submitted with your application (Susanne Binder)
13:00 Submitting your application (Helen Tilbrook)
13:30 Q&A Session (Paul Cairns)
Audio recordings of the day:
>> Identifying a project and supervisor
>> Writing the research proposal
>> Documents to be submitted + Submitting your application
PDF versions of the presentation slides:
>> Writing the research proposal
In-person Open Day at Queen Mary University of London and the University of York - 10 Jan 2023
On Tuesday 10 January 2023 join us at Queen Mary University of London or at the University of York for a tour of the facilities and the opportunity to meet current iGGi Researchers and iGGi supervisors and staff. Find out more about what it is like to study at the University of your choice. (Please note that if your application is successful you will be registered and based at the same University as your primary supervisor.)
The open day will start at 12.00-12.30 with registration and refreshments and will close at 15:30.
If attending the Open Day at the University of York, the address is Computer Science, Deramore Lane, Heslington, York, YO10 5GH
If attending the Open day at Queen Mary University of London, the address is Empire House, (Whitechapel campus), 67-75 New Rd, London E1 1HH
Sign up via Eventbrite for one of the in-person Open Days 2023. Registration for this event closes on 4 January 2023 12:00 (midday) GMT:
In-person Open Day at Queen Mary University of London
Who Should Apply?
We are seeking individuals who feel they will benefit from the iGGi community (currently comprising over 70 PhD Researchers, 60 supervisors) with its close links to games industry/related academia, and who wish to conduct interdisciplinary research in areas such as:
Understanding player experience, games user research, and game analytics
Game audio and music
Using games and gamification to support wellbeing, learning, or social change
Using esports and other game data to study human behaviour and psychology
Interaction, user experience and learning design for games
Using machine learning (ML) and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) to create interesting, fun, believable game agents
Augmented creativity tools that support game designers and developers, e.g. procedural content generation, AI-assisted game design and testing
Using ideas from game AI to improve real-world decision making beyond games
iGGi Researchers are a diverse group, and admission decisions are made on the basis of your potential to successfully complete the programme and make a positive impact through games research as a member of an active research community with strong links to the games industry. We especially welcome applications from candidates belonging to groups that are currently under-represented in games research and the games industry; these include (but are not limited to) females, individuals from ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with physical disabilities.
We place high value on team spirit. While traditionally, working on a PhD can be an isolating experience, iGGi’s key attraction points include the peer-to-peer knowledge exchange and social support that the iGGi community affords. iGGi is more than the sum of its parts. This, however, requires each individual’s personal commitment: Your active engagement with fellow researchers, supervisors and industry, as well as your help in the organisation of iGGi-run events such as the annual iGGi Conference and the iGGi Game Jam is expected, not just because it forms part of the training funded by the iGGi grant: it is also integral to the Centre for Doctoral Training as a thriving community.
Why Apply to iGGi?
iGGi brings together over 60 senior researchers in games and related fields working on creating positive impact on and through games; that’s 60 outstanding researchers who you can draw on as supervisors.
The iGGi PhD programme is a 4-year programme. In the first year there are mandatory taught modules at QMUL and UoY where you will receive focused skills training in game design, games research methods, game development, game AI, responsible innovation, and engaging users and the public with your work. In addition, you will have access to training in a wide range of topics such as AI, HCI, graphics, audio, and psychology.
You will have opportunities to collaborate with other researchers, make games, and share your work with other researchers and games companies through events such as
the annual iGGi Game Jam, a 48 hour game development challenge (in previous years run either independently or as part of the Global Game Jam or Ludum Dare), enhancing your skills in game design, development, and teamwork
the annual iGGi Conference, showcasing iGGi research alongside industry and academic speakers
social and game-playing events
research and writing workshops
Through interaction with your fellow iGGi researchers, you will naturally become part of a support network and meet people who share your interests and experience.
The iGGi programme requires you to work directly with industry and social partner organisations for a minimum of 8 weeks (but typically for longer) and will encourage you to establish contacts with companies/studios/academia relevant to your research interests. Placements, research exchanges, and other forms of knowledge exchange will give you the possibility to make a direct and positive impact, experience the games industry first hand, and collaborate with researchers and practitioners. Previous and current iGGi researchers have worked with partner organisations such as Sony Interactive Entertainment, Bossa Studios, Google, Bloomberg, PROWLER.io, Media Molecule, BT, Splash Damage, Microsoft Research, and Sue Ryder, to name but a few. iGGi will create opportunities for you to establish contacts in the games industry via internal and external events and training. The iGGi industry liaison representatives will also support you in arranging a placement or knowledge exchange.
Years 2 and 3 will be mostly self-directed study on your research question and year 4 is the write-up year. Additionally, it is possible to have an unfunded continuation period (up to 1 year depending on the length of your placement(s)) should this be required.
You will also have the opportunity and an allowance to enable you to attend conferences, workshops or other events relevant to your research nationally and internationally.
For general applications: Even though your application for an iGGi studentship will be handled centrally by iGGi-admin in the first instance; you will apply for a place based at either iGGi University of York (UoY) or iGGi Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) (depending on the home university of your chosen primary supervisor). As UoY and QMUL are the sole grant holders of iGGi's second funding round - places at Essex or Goldsmiths will no longer be offered. However, with the agreement of your primary supervisor, it is possible to have secondary supervisors from these as well as other universities. The iGGi selection process takes just under 3 months. Candidates who are offered a studentship with iGGi will be informed in March 2023. Successful candidates, will at that time, be invited to submit an application through the Central Admissions platforms of either the UoY or QMUL.
Who is Eligible to Apply?
Generally, UK, EU, and international students are eligible to apply and receive a stipend and their tuition fees based on EPSRC rules. International students (which includes EU students without UK settled status) will need to apply for a Student Visa (formerly called “Tier 4 Visa”).
Please check details available at this UK CISA link to determine whether you would be considered as a “home fee” or “international fee” applicant.
Applicants normally hold a Masters degree enabling them to do games research in their chosen research area (e.g. computer science, HCI, psychology, game design and development), or a relevant undergraduate degree and a portfolio of work and/or experience (particularly related to creating games). We also expect applicants to bring the requisite basic technical (programming) skills to succeed in our training modules in game design and development - please see section on Completing and Submitting your Application, point 7, for further details. Prior practical experience in creating games is not essential but is a definite plus.
The iGGi Programme is not intended for remote study; researchers are expected to live within reasonable distance of the university campus where their chosen primary supervisor is based (near Whitechapel/Mile End campus for researchers with QMUL-based supervisors, and near the University of York for those with YoU-based supervisors).
Although it is not recommended, switching to part-time study is theoretically possible after successful completion of Year 1 (Progression Point/Stage 1), pending formal approval and with a minimum of 50% FT equivalent study commitment.
Research Theme and Supervisor
Applications start with finding a primary supervisor who you want to work with, and deciding whether you want to develop your own PhD project or apply to a project that has already been framed by your supervisor.
If you have a project and supervisor in mind but they are at another institution, you can still apply as long as you are able to find a primary supervisor at the UoY or QMUL who is happy to work with you and the supervisor at the other institution. (The supervisor at the other institution would become the secondary supervisor).
If you want to apply to a predefined project:
In the run-up to each major recruitment round, we publish a list of projects framed by a supervisor and/or industry. If you find one or more that fit your research interests, contact the supervisor(s) listed as framing the project. We recommend introducing yourself via a short email with your educational and professional background, identifying the project or area you would like to work on, and some further background on why you are interested in that topic and how it fits your profile. Even if the proposed topic doesn't perfectly match your interests, our supervisors are often open to developing a PhD project on a related topic. So, if the pre-defined project is close to but not exactly what you are interested in, it is still worthwhile contacting the supervisor. See our advertised projects here.
If you want to develop your own project:
Check the list of potential iGGi supervisors, listed with their research interests, and contact those that most closely match the research you would like to undertake. If you cannot find a fitting supervisor, you can contact us at email@example.com to try to find a suitable match.
Once you have identified potential supervisors, contact them directly to see if they are interested in supervising you and developing a project proposal with you. We recommend introducing yourself with your educational and professional background, areas you'd like to do a PhD in and why, and why you chose to approach them.
Please do this as early as possible before you plan to submit your application. Your first choice of supervisor may not be available or may find your project does not fit with their current scope, so you may have to try more than once to find a supervisor. It might take several weeks (or more). And developing a good proposal takes time.
Developing a Project Proposal
Once you have found a primary supervisor to work with and your project idea, you need to develop a detailed project proposal. If you apply with a project you have framed yourself, you should have a dialogue with your intended supervisor about possible directions. If you apply to a project already pitched by a supervisor, they will tell you more about the background of the pitch.
Either way, once you have agreed on a project direction or have understood the project pitch, you should next develop a detailed project proposal on your own. A well-written and researched proposal is a key indicator of your suitability for the iGGi programme.
A project proposal should state the research question you want to answer in your PhD, why it is important, how you plan to answer it, and how it might have a positive impact on the world. Please use the Proposal Template Word version 2.2, PDF version 2.2. for your proposal, which sets out the requirements. For help, have a look at our tips for proposal writing, or an example of a previous successful proposal.
Note that your proposal must fit within the iGGi scope as well as within the iGGi research themes: have a look at the description of the iGGi scope, at our research themes and student projects for guidance and inspiration. iGGi intentionally tries to be broad in its research topics, but projects ultimately need to address the goals underlying iGGi's funding: it needs to be games research that has some potential practical value for game developers and designers, be it for applied or entertainment games, and be within EPSRC remit to at least 50%. If in doubt, your intended supervisor can help frame a project that fits iGGi.
Important: While you can and should communicate with your intended supervisor about your proposal, the proposal text must be written solely by you. Your supervisor may give you overall feedback on proposal drafts, but they must not directly write or edit the document.
Completing & Submitting Your Application
The application window for studentships starting September 2023 are now open. The Submission deadline is midday GMT on Thursday 26 January 2023.
Completing Your Application
To complete your application you need to submit the following:
A completed iGGi PhD Application Form with key information about your application: iGGi Application Form to be submitted before midday on Thursday 26 January 2023.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL DOCUMENTS LISTED IN THE SHADED BOXES BELOW AND APPLICABLE TO YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD BE SENT AS ATTACHMENTS (PDFs) IN ONE SINGLE EMAIL to firstname.lastname@example.org before midday GMT on Thursday 26 January 2023.
PLEASE ONLY MAKE ONE SUBMISSION. WE CANNOT CONSIDER INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS, SCATTERED SUBMISSIONS, OR MULTIPLE ENTRIES, NOR ARE WE ABLE TO REVIEW YOUR SUBMISSION PRIOR TO THE DEADLINE.
Document name format: Please use the following format for naming the documents you are submitting ‘Your first name - last name - document title’. Document titles would be: CV, research proposal, undergraduate certificate, undergraduate transcript, reference 1, reference 2, submisison checklist, etc. Example: Sandra Connor CV
We are providing a Submission Checklist to ensure you have all of the required items. This checklist does not need to be sent to us but is simply an aid to completing your application.
Academic transcripts of previous degrees or evidence of relevant experience. Please include degree certificates and formal transcripts of your academic record, providing full details of the degrees, classes, grades you have obtained and the units you have taken. If your degree result is still pending, please include an interim transcript. If the original certificate/transcript is not in English language you must provide both a copy of the original and an English certified translation.
Your project proposal which should identify a potential supervisor and the project title. Your statement of planned research needs to outline the nature of your proposed study and give some indication of how you will conduct your research. You can find the template for the research proposal here:
Research Proposal Template: Word version 2.2, PDF version 2.2.
It must be in English and be your own words. We invite well-developed but concise proposals which are 2 pages or below in length. Please note that due to the typically large volume of applications, iGGi investigators will not be able to fully assess proposals which exceed that limit. If you are applying with a predefined project, then please state this in the heading of the research proposal.
A short CV, to give further background information on your prior experience and qualifications (please include your overall GPA score for any undergraduate and postgraduate degrees).
A cover letter containing a short personal statement (not exceeding 250 words).
Two written references by either current/former supervising academic(s), tutor(s) or employer(s).
Evidence of your technical skills: As noted, we expect applicants to bring the requisite technical skills to succeed on the programme. These can be evidenced e.g., through your academic transcripts, certificates of online learning programmes, or a portfolio of work, which can include examples of source code you have written. Specifically, we are looking for:
b) Any technical skills required to conduct the specific research you propose. For example, if you are proposing to advance machine learning in games, we would look for evidence of background knowledge and skills in that area. If you are proposing research on design patterns or player experience, we would look for different skill sets.
English language skills: Please check via the links below if local entry requirements will necessitate that you provide a proof of your English language skills (this could be the case e.g., for some international applicants and/or if English is not your first language). If so, then please include evidence of your English language skills. Irrespective of UoY/QMUL requirements, iGGi has set a minimum English language proficiency level of 6.5 in the IELTS test, with at least 6.0 in each component, or a TOEFL iBT score of 92 with a minimum of 21 in each component, for other test equivalents please see this table.
If for some reason you are unable to produce evidence of the required English Language Skills at the time of submission of your application, please explain this on your cover letter; and you then must provide proof by 24 February at the very latest so that we have all of the information we need at the point at which we determine who is being invited to the Final Interviews.
If you hold a degree from a university in a majority-English speaking country, then this can be provided as evidence of English Language Proficiency (please see regulations at the site you wish to apply to: the regulations differ between York and QMUL and you will have to meet the requirements of the institution at which your intended primary supervisor is based).
University of York policy on English language requirements
Queen Mary University of London policy on English language requirements
Please contact us at email@example.com if in doubt.
iGGi Recruitment Diversity Monitoring
The iGGi Application Form includes a section for our diversity monitoring. This section of the form is optional. Please see the form for further details including the iGGi Diversity Monitoring Privacy Notice which has been copied below for reference.
After You Have Submitted Your Application
Once your application has been received, we will contact you within three working days to confirm receipt and advise the next steps and timing of the ongoing application process.
Find out how we use your data and read our Privacy Notice.
If you need to contact us directly, further details can be found on our contacts page.
Funding Your PhD
If, following your application, you get selected for the iGGi studentship, you will have secured a fully-funded place in the iGGi Programme.
The funded studentship covers all tuition fees and a tax- and national insurance-free stipend of £17,668 per year (2022/23 rates). London-based researchers will receive an additional London weighting payment, (the 2022/23 weighting is £2,000). The stipend is paid quarterly (i.e., in four equal installments over the year).
In addition to fees and stipend, researchers are allocated a research and travel allowance (presently totalling £2,600) to cover conference travel and research expenses during their four years. iGGi also covers travel and accommodation required by the demands of the iGGi programme such as attendance at other sites for the taught modules and attendance at the iGGi Conference, subject to EPSRC eligibility criteria.
Note that EU and international researchers on a Student visa will have to pay a healthcare surcharge of currently £470 per year; this is not covered by iGGi.
It is always possible to apply to the iGGi programme as a self-funded student or with funding from another source. Please be aware that you will need to be able to prove that you have the funding to cover the tuition fees, living costs, and the additional travel and accommodation costs required for this course.
Tuition fees vary according to your fee status and to which institution (UoY or QMUL) you are applying. To discuss living costs, tuition fees and additional programme costs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to apply as a self-funded student, do not apply to the institution directly in the first instance but please still follow the application process as laid out above indicating in your cover email/letter that you wish to proceed as “self-funded”. We will then obtain a statement of support from your chosen supervisor and pre-check your documents in order to establish that you have met our benchmark criteria.